Your employer is responsible for making sure that your work conditions are safe. If you discover that you have unsafe work conditions, you may choose to report these conditions only to discover that your employer has now retaliated against you. The retaliation might be something brazen such as terminating your employment, or it might be something more subtle, such as creating a more hostile work environment.
Forms of Retaliation
The retaliation might begin as soon as you bring up the unsafe work conditions with your employer. Or the retaliation might begin as soon as your employer is investigated for unsafe work conditions.
Your employer is not allowed to fire you in retaliation for reporting unsafe work practices. Also, if you participate in an investigation after another employee files a report or when you are exercising any of your other rights under the law, you cannot be retaliated against. Your employer must also not:
- Lower your wages
- Pass you up for a raise
- Pass you up for a promotion
- Prevent you from receiving any benefits normally offered to employees
Why You Are Protected
While there are cases where government agencies might conduct workplace audits, in most cases, an agency relies on workers to report injuries. As a result, the government has a stake in making sure that workers are not retaliated against.
However, while you have legal rights, these cases can be complicated and you may need to prove that you are being retaliated against for reporting a safety violation. For this reason, you will need to get in contact with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible.
File a Complaint With the Help of an Attorney
An employment attorney may be able to guide you through the process of filing the complaint. You will want to create a timeline for each step that you took so you can show that the adverse actions taken by your employer against you were the result of your whistle-blowing actions and not the result of your work.
Even if you aren't able to establish a clear timeline, you may still be able to file a successful lawsuit against your employer. However, your case will be much stronger with a clear timeline. Then, your attorney will help you determine which claims you are able to make and will help you calculate how much each claim is worth so you can make the best decision for you.